In Mesopotamian cultures, the same kind of descriptions are found. A Sumerian myth depicts a single mountain rising out of a primeval sea and an air-god dividing the mountain in two to form heaven and earth, lifting heaven on high. In a Hittite version of the separation of heaven and earth, a saw, or divine cleaver, does the dividing. In Phoenician cosmology, a "world egg" cracks into two equal halves, heaven above and earth below. And in Babylonian and Hebrew versions waters are divided (p. 113). According to the Sumerians, the heavens and earth were created by the "word" of their god, Enki. For the Babylonians, it was Marduk who was Creator of the earth above the waters, establisher of things on high and who made mankind . . . . creatures with the breath of life (p. 117). The cosmologies of the all the ANE peoples, including the Hebrews imagined the cosmos as requiring divine support, especially the heavens/sky above a flat earth. They also shared the concept of a cosmic ocean that existed before creation (p. 119).
So anyone who thinks that the portrait of creation presented in Genesis was unique to the Hebrews is uninformed on ANE mythology. The parallels are unmistakable. In addition, even as these other cultures had multiple "creation stories," the Hebrews did as well. Virtually all scholars recognize that the story in Genesis 1 is different than the story in Genesis 2. There are also creation stories or myths to be found in the Psalms (74:12-17; 89:11-13) and the book of Job (26:7-13; 38:1-11) which probably predate the Genesis stories. All of these bear strong resemblance to the stories told by other ANE cultures.
The Hebrews viewed the universe has having three levels: 1) heaven, 2) earth, and 3) sheol or the place of the dead, under the earth. The first level was the abode of God, the stars and the moon, the second was the abode of man, and the third was the abode of the dead. God was not light years away but just above us as if in a balcony. That is why at the tower of Babel (Gen. 11), ancient man thought he could climb his way to God. The earth was seen as flat with four corners. This view continued into the New Testament and was no doubt the view of Jesus himself. He spoke of the whole earth seeing the Son of Man when he comes on the clouds (Matt. 24:30-31). Below the earth is the netherworld where the dead go (Gen. 37:35, 1 Sam. 2:6, Job 7:9, Isa. 14:11, etc.). In the book of Revelation, this is seen to be like a bottomless pit (Rev. 9) where demons, the damned and even Satan himself sometimes abides. The writer of 1 Peter envisioned Jesus as going down into this region at his death and preaching (1 Pet. 3:19). Paul seems to indicate that he took some of these souls with him back to heaven (Eph. 4:8), thus leaving only the eternally damned there.
Thus, it should be obvious to any informed observer that the Bible simply presents the view of the universe as commonly held by the peoples of the ANE. There is no reason to believe that the Hebrews' version of the story came from a divine being any more than it is to believe that the Babylonian stories came from Marduk or the Sumerian stories came from Enki. Amazingly enough, though, there are many Christians who continue to believe these myths to be literally true simply because they have made a prior faith commitment to the God of the Bible and have presupposed that everything in it must be true. No matter what science says, they will cling to this ancient mythology. A prime example is Kurt Wise who has a Ph.D. in geology from Harvard University and studied under the famed Stephen Jay Gould. Wise said:
Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young-age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. Here I must stand (In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation, p. 355).